It’s been quite a week to reflect on in my Friday 15 minutes this time around.
The week certainly had a lot of potential to turn into a shitty one – work have had me on trains and stopping in hotels all over the UK and I was pretty sad to be away from my family – something that was especially heart-breaking as it was my Birthday on Wednesday and the one gift I truly love is spending time with family on my birthday. There was, thankfully, some silver lining to the dark cloud of business travel with some cool little experiences brightening things up for me, which, while couldn’t replace time with my family, still gave me some cause to smile.
I’ll start by re-stating that rail travel in the UK, in my experience, is consistently a dreadful experience. (check out my previous comments here.) There’s definitely no good time to travel on train besides those at the crack of dawn. It doesn’t matter when I set off – every train is uncomfortably packed to the rafters. It’s wearing – especially in a week like this week where I’ve done a number of trips in such a small window of days.
Everybody knows it’s shit too – so the rail companies must know. Everyone I talk to notes the same catalogue of complaints as I do; too few carriages, badly maintained facilities, delays and unhelpful staff. A colleague of mine told me of an Edinburgh to Manchester run, which is approx three and a half hours, with the toilet out of order and a cancelled beverage service. She also noted the beverage service was cancelled because the train was too full with passengers having to stand in the aisles they couldn’t get the cart through the train! For whatever reasons; those responsible and could make decisions to change for the better in the rail companies have decided that this grade of service is acceptable to them. Nobheads.
The horrors of rail travel were mitigated a little by a cool little turn of events – I got a mention on one of my favourite podcasts – Nerdzilla. I often save up my podcasts for when I travel so it was a nice pick me up as I was miserably plodding onto a rammed train when the wonderful hosts; Joel & Andrew, mentioned my name. In a previous podcast they had given their postal address and glibly set the challenge for their listeners to send them – and, knowing that Andrew was a biiiiiiiiiiiig Batman fan, sent the below image & caption using a photo postcard app on my phone.
The mention happens about 18 minutes in on this episode here – but I would highly recommend you listen to it all because these guys make great content and are truly the Nerd’s Nerd.
A confession though – I just grabbed this for myself off a Google-images search; so here is also a link to the original owner of the photo’s Flickr page where I acquired it from;
I was also this week given the opportunity to check out Edinburgh and soak up a bit of the Fringe Festival atmosphere. I was there on business, and one of my good colleagues gave me a bit of a tour in the evening and we took in a show. Edinburgh’s a great ol’ town, I’ve always liked visiting there but the feel & buzz of the place is something else during Fringe season. I spat on the Heart of Midlothian, had a beer in a pub where a band was playing traditional Scottish folk, and ate a deep fried cheeseburger. If I had drank an Irn Bru I would have been a fully integrated Scotsman.
For those who know I like to do a bit of celeb spotting – I saw Marcus Brigstock and Richard Herring making their way around town pounding the pavement, and we took in a cracking little show by Stephen K Amos.
Amos was on great form in the intimate venue and struck up a great rapport with the audience and brought me some good, hearty laughs through natural, off-the-cuff banter with us. He was trying out new material that, judging by the laughter of us in the audience (me included), he can consider to be largely working. I really enjoyed myself and look forward to potentially exploring a bit more of the Fringe on future trips to the area. (providing I’m still working with my current employer and trekking up to that neck of the wood.)
I’ll be getting back to a more normal routine next week and will be getting much more family time in – so will hopefully get back to bringing the funny through sharing my experiences of parenthood and making you chuckle next week.
See you on the other side.